Digital Advertising at NYU

Whether you’re managing a historic initiative or beginning a new advertising effort, consider digital marketing campaigns for incremental growth.

Across NYU,, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are the most commonly utilized digital advertising platforms. Here, you will find some recommended best practices for these channels. 

The following sections highlight common targeting and creative opportunities for NYU.


For further platform advertising guidance, please email the Marketing and Communications media team at

Advertising on

Your keyword selection largely determines whether your ads will show on Keywords, specified by you, the advertiser, are some or all of the words a person must enter in the search bar for your ads to show. A query is the exact phrase someone enters into; keywords can be used to target many queries unless otherwise restricted. For example, the keyword “health administration” can show ads when people type in the following queries: “masters in health administration,” “health administration news,” “administration of health systems,” and “health administration.”

If your keyword list focuses on terms people rarely or never search for, you will receive very little web traffic from ads. If your keyword list focuses on terms that are too general, excessive costs may result from ads showing on irrelevant queries.

Utilizing Brand Keywords

People can actively search for NYU and its affiliated programs. When people search for “NYU” or “New York University” along with any other qualifying words, they conduct a brand query; therefore, NYU communicators should consider incorporating brand keywords to potentially show on related searches for their offerings.

  • If you are a communicator for a particular school, do not use the stand-alone keyword(s) “NYU” or “New York University” without particular qualifiers. While people may be interested in your particular school, they may also be interested in our other divisions.

For advertisers, separating campaigns for brand keywords from nonbrand keywords is a general best practice. Budgeting and targeting emphasis are the benefits of a campaign. You will likely benefit from adding additional budget on brand keywords because they generally have favorable advertising performance.

Consider using different advertising copy for people who search brand keywords. People querying brand terms are likely more familiar with NYU and its particular offerings. As a result, they may benefit more from communications with other information and messaging than someone who may be researching NYU for the first time.

To learn more about advertising on, please visit Google’s official ads guide.

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Advertising on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook’s interface, which also runs ads for Instagram, allows for multiple targeting combinations, called ad sets; each ad set can potentially show unique ad copy. You can specify a particular ad set with four key components:

  • Location (e.g., the United States, particular states, or international countries)
  • Age
    • Having different ad sets by age could be beneficial if your applicants tend to fall within a certain age range.
  • Gender
    • Currently limited to “men” and “women.” Targeting individual genders can be paired with relevant creative.
  • Detailed Targeting (i.e., demographics, interests, or behaviors)
    • Due to the plethora of opportunities in detailed targeting, this particular field will be the most relevant in incorporating additional opportunities based on NYU’s strategic branding efforts.

Brainstorming Interests

Current or former students in your program may be willing to provide you with insights regarding their active interests. Focus groups or one-on-one interviews may be opportunities to learn about particular interests more in depth. For faster and larger data collection, send online surveys to potential respondents.

To learn more about best practices on Facebook and Instagram, please visit Meta’s official ads guide.

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Advertising on LinkedIn

On LinkedIn you can pair unique ads with the five following audience-targeting elements:

  • Company Type
  • Demographics (i.e., age and gender)
  • Education (e.g., degrees earned, fields of study, past schools)
  • Job Experience (e.g., functions, job titles, seniority level)
  • Interests and Traits (e.g., joined organizations, content interests, and career stages)

To learn more about best practices for LinkedIn, please visit LinkedIn’s official ads guide.

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Digital Ad Creative Recommendations

When crafting creative for digital ads, strategic decisions fall into two key areas: visuals and copy. Depending on the ad type, visuals can consist of static images; multiple images; or videos.

The following are general best practice recommendations for paid media.

Test Multiple Iterations

Paid media ads allow you to test multiple iterations simultaneously. During such tests, you can experiment with different copy, visuals, or both. Two to four versions are generally recommended for any testing period. The duration of such tests should be at least two weeks to avoid biases caused by limiting testing to particular days or certain weeks.

Keep Copy Brief

Digital ads generally do not provide opportunities for extensive copy. Character limits for some ad formats can cause messaging to be under 100 characters. Communicators should strive to immediately convey their main intent through their messaging. Even with a small amount of text, people may not read the entire message before deciding to click on an ad. When possible, consider including the important points as close to the beginning of the ad as possible.

Be Up Front in Videos Ads

Regardless of a video ad’s length, most are not viewed through completion. Consider playing your video ads for only the first 15 seconds to determine what the viewer may remember. Your video’s important aspects should appear as close to the beginning as possible.

Assess Other Institutions’ Ads

Target audiences may interact with ad creatives of other universities. For general awareness and benchmarking, review other institutions’ ads.

To discover what other ads show for your keywords on, use Google’s Anonymous Ad Preview and Diagnosis Tool. If you experience any difficulties with this link, you can also search for your keywords on and view the results.

Meta allows you to search for ads leveraged by particular advertisers through their Ad Library.

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